Thursday, January 04, 2007

A British Girl in New York: the Michelle Story Part 3

Sounds like a Sting song. "She's an alien...she's a legal alien, she's a British girl in New York." It would work better if she was English, but she isn't, she's Welsh. A lot of Americans won't have a clue what "Welsh" is. I didn't, before I got to know Michelle. Wales is a principality, which is part of the United Kingdom, but a separate country from England. It lies on the western side of the island of Great Britain, on the side closest to Ireland. The Welsh are a Celtic people and maintain their own language. For example, the Welsh word for Wales is "Cymru."
After Michelle arrived in New York for the first time, in June of 1988, I told her that she could use my phone to call her family and let them know she had arrived safely. She didn't seem at all anxious to take up my offer. On Saturday morning, the day after she arrived, I again suggested that she call her family. Although she claimed to have told her family that she was going to America, I started having doubts. "What exactly did you say to your parents, when you let them know you were coming?" I asked her.
"Where are the dollars?" she replied.
Uh oh. That's not the same as saying, "I am going to New York, to visit this guy I met." I insisted that she call someone. She called her older sister. It was good she did. Her parents were starting to panic. They had no idea where she was and had considered contacting the police. She'd taken her father's stash of American money and come to New York, without telling them exactly where she was going. I insisted that she call her parents and she did. I even ended up speaking to her father, on the phone. I explained to him that I had absolutely no idea that she hadn't made them aware that she was traveling to New York. I also pointed out to him that I had insisted that she call and let her family know she was alright. I didn't want him to think that I had been encouraging Michelle not to tell them things, or anything like that. He said that one of their main concerns is that they didn't know me. I said that I understood how that might cause them concern. Remembering the Sade concert tickets I had, for a concert in London, later in the month, I explained that I would be returning to the UK with Michelle, in two weeks, as we were going to a show in London then. I said I would personally drive Michelle to Wales, from London, and be happy to meet her parents, so we could get to know each other. That seemed to satisfy him, for the moment and it was agreed.
Now that the parental crisis was abated, I enjoyed taking Michelle around. As I had been fired form my job, I had lots of free time. During that first week, I decided to take Michelle to one of the beautiful, white sand beaches on Long Island. Before heading to the beach, we stopped at a local department store, Modell's, in East Meadow, to buy some beach towels, a cooler and some other items. At one point, Michelle went to look at sunglasses, or something. While we were separated like that, I happened to run into two guys from my former job, who were taking a break. My old office was only about five minutes drive from Modell's. I explained to them that I was at the store with my new girlfriend and that we were going to the beach. All of a sudden, one of them spots Michelle walking toward us. He tapped the other one on the arm and they stared at her, like guys will do at attractive women. One of them said, "wow, look at her." The hadn't yet realized that this was the girlfriend I was referring to.
Innocently, I said, "that's my girlfriend."
"Yeah, right," they said, sarcastically. They thought I was lying. The look on their faces when Michelle walked up to me and I introduced her was priceless. Their jaws dropped open and they were stunned. I felt amused as Michelle and I walked out, arm in arm. Certainly, they would go back to the office and tell everyone.
To give you an idea of how Michelle looked, she is a lot like the actress, Kelly LeBrock, who was in "The Woman in Red" and "Weird Science." Their noses are different. Michelle is five feet, ten inches tall and if she wore three inch heels, which she often did, that would result in her being a half an inch taller than me. One day, we were walking down a street in Manhattan, going in the same direction as the traffic. Eventually, I noticed that the cars were moving more slowly. I looked behind us and I saw that many of the drivers who were male were looking at her, as we walked. This distraction was forcing them to drive slower. This girl was literally stopping traffic. I got a little spring in my step, thinking, "yeah fellas, she's with me."


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